Outgoing United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, has confirmed that some 800 military personnel from America and other countries are in Ghana under the controversial Military Defense Agreement.Speaking to media, Ambassador Jackson reiterated that the US has not established a military base in Ghana, and that the troops are in the country for a training program.
“Indeed the agreement is enforced as you have seen we have not built a base here, we do have about 800 troops from the United States and other African countries for an exercise, that exercise includes a training by Ghanaians and Americans at the jungle warfare center and we are very pleased that Ghana remains the only country in Africa that is training US Forces, which really speaks to Ghana’s partnership with us in peace and security area,” he said.
Parliament recently approved the Ghana-US Military cooperation agreement, which seeks to give US forces access to some critical national installations for their exclusive use.
Parliament approved the agreement without the Minority in Parliament who opposed the deal.
With the agreement ratified, it means that the US troops will among other things be exempted from paying taxes on equipment brought to Ghana and they will use Ghana’s radio spectrum for free.
The troops and their equipment will also have unhindered access to the US forces and their equipment.
Although many Ghanaians have expressed resentment over the clauses of the agreement, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul explained that the agreement was in the best interest of Ghana.
The Government has also consistently explained that it was only respecting the existing Status of Forces Agreement with the US signed since 1998 and reviewed in 2015, under the previous NDC administration.
But the NDC Minority has downplayed this argument, saying the agreement as existed in the past, did not have the same clauses like the current one that gives the US unlimited access to Ghana’s military facilities.